Vietnamese government confirms bird flu outbreak
The Vietnamese government has announced that thousands
of poultry have died of bird flu in the last two weeks in southern Vietnam. This
is the country's first reported outbreak in a year.
The deputy director of the Department of Animal Health, Hoang Van Nam, said
that tests have revealed that approximately 5,500 one-month-old ducks and 500
chickens have died of the H5N1 bird flu
strain in the southern Mekong Delta provinces Ca
Mau and Bac Lieu.
There was no immediate comment from the World Health Organisation.
In recent months, Vietnamese authorities had asked farmers and local
authorities to remain vigilant as winter conditions are considered favourable
for the development of the virus. The government has also tried to prevent the
movement of bird flu through a mass-vaccination campaign (126 million birds have
been vaccinated), however, Nam warned this time the virus could spread.
"The risk of the bird flu virus spreading further is very high because some
farmers dumped dead ducklings into canals," Nam said.
A report by the Hanoi-based national animal health department said the
birds had been illegally hatched and were not vaccinated.
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